Daredevil Readies 2 Tightrope Walks in Chicago, Without Net

Nik Wallenda will be blindfolded for one of them on Sunday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2014 6:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda declared today that he's ready to attempt two back-to-back skyscraper crossings in Chicago, one of them blindfolded. For Sunday's televised walks, the 35-year-old daredevil promised to uphold the "Flying Wallendas" family tradition of working without a net or harness. City officials said they've decided a state law requiring safety nets for aerial acts higher than 20 feet wasn't intended for "elite" performers like him. The Discovery Channel will use a 10-second delay for the broadcast, allowing producers to cut away if something goes wrong. Millions of viewers around the world are expected to watch.

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First, Wallenda will walk uphill at a 15-degree angle from the nearly 600-foot Marina City west tower, one of the twin corncob-shaped buildings, across the Chicago River to the top of the Leo Burnett Building. That walk is 454 feet from point to point, more than two city blocks. Then he'll walk between the two Marina City towers wearing a blindfold, a shorter walk of 94 feet. Wallenda said he would crouch on the cable and hold on if winds whip too hard. If gusts of 50 mph or higher are forecast Sunday, the walks will be postponed. (Read more Nik Wallenda stories.)

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